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Initial Effects of Differently Treated Biogas Residues from Municipal and Industrial Wastes on Spring Barley Yield Formation

Prays, Nadia; Kaupenjohann, Martin; Li, Xiangzhen (Contributor)

Soil application of biogas residues (BGRs) is important for closing nutrient cycles. This study examined the efficiency and impact on yields and yield formation of solid-liquid separated residues from biodegradable municipal and industrial wastes (bio-waste) in comparison to complete BGRs, nitrification inhibitor, agricultural BGRs, mineral fertilizer and unfertilized plots as control. The experiment was set up as a randomized block design on silt loam Cambisol. Biogas residues from four biogas plants were evaluated. Plants per m², ears per plant, grains per ear and thousand grain weight (TGW) were measured at harvest. Fertilization with BGRs resulted in similar biomass yields compared with mineral fertilizer. Mineral fertilizer (71 dt/ha) and plots fertilized with liquid fraction (59–62 dt/ha) indicated a trend to higher yields than solid fraction or complete BGR due to its high ammonia content. Liquid fractions and fraction with nitrification inhibitor induced fewer plants per m² than corresponding solid and complete variants due to a potential phytotoxicity of high NH4-N concentration during germination. However, barley on plots fertilized with liquid fraction compensated the disadvantages at the beginning during the vegetation period and induced higher grain yields than solid fraction. This was attributable to a higher number of ears per plant and grains per ear. In conclusion, BGRs from biodegradable municipal and industrial wastes can be used for soil fertilization and replace considerable amounts of mineral fertilizer. Our study showed that direct application of the liquid fraction of BGR is the most suitable strategy to achieve highest grain yields. Nevertheless potential phytotoxicity of the high NH4-N concentration in the liquid fraction should be considered.
Published in: PLoS ONE, 10.1371/journal.pone.0154232, PLoS